Youth design team to give ideas for Project 1107 

Published 2:36 pm Tuesday, November 1, 2016

This week, a 25-member youth design team consisting of Clark County children in fourth through sixth grades will take the lead in designing a two-acre portion of Project 1107 dedicated to children’s play.

The group will become “play experts” after participating in a three-day series of workshops led by leading national landscape design and sustainability firm Learning Landscapes Design, and presented by The Greater Clark Foundation. The youth design team will investigate, research and discover forward-leaning play options that will create inspiring spaces for engaged learning and play.

 The typical playground provides opportunities for large motor movements, Michelle Mathis, principal at Learning Landscapes, said. “The types of playspaces we’ll look at focus on social and imaginative opportunities. They involve tactile experiences and loose parts that stimulate problem solving and cooperation. The goal is to encourage the healthy development of children physically, socially and intellectually.”

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While creative playspaces are on the rise across the country, it is rare that youth work alongside the design team, Mathis said. The members of the youth design team represent a diverse group of students from area public, private and home schools.

This forward-thinking process is already getting recognition. It is one of the top 200 causes currently being voted on to receive $25,000 from the State Farm Neighborhood Assist program. People can vote up to 10 times a day until 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 4 for the project at this link:

The youth design team will share its findings and ideas with neighbors and friends at a Community Playground Workshop from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Nov. 5, at Baker Intermediate School.

Community members are also invited to learn more about “The Power of Play” when Mathis gives a presentation at 7 p.m. Thursday at Baker Intermediate School. She’ll discuss the importance of play for children, its impact on communities, the types of designs possible and options for Winchester.

“Project 1107 will be a reflection of our community needs, both now and in the future, and the children’s playspace is no different,” Jen Algire, GCF president and chief executive officer, said. “By making this a youth-driven process, we are giving our next generation ownership of the park. We’re asking them to think not just of what they want, but about what would interest their younger siblings in the future.”

Project 1107 is an imaginative public green space, being created by GCF, that will establish a legacy of well-being in the Clark County community.

It will transform the nearly 30 acres of land that was the site of Winchester’s Clark Regional Medical Center into an iconic space that will draw visitors  from the region.

Aside from the children’s playspace, there will be trails, native plants, large lawns, and event spaces.

Work continues to prepare the site for groundbreaking, which is expected in late 2017.

Once the youth design team workshops are completed, Learning Landscapes will utilize the team’s ideas in creating the playspace design. The children will review the initial plans, and be invited on-site to see the playspace become reality once construction begins.